WASHINGTON — Without directly naming Hillary Clinton, former Gov. Rick Perry ratcheted up his criticism of the Democratic presidential contender on Friday afternoon at a gathering of New Hampshire Republicans.
Perry homed in on foreign policy, specifically the Obama administration's handling of Syria and Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression — and pointed the finger at Clinton, Obama's former secretary of state.
“The orchestrator of these policies that we have seen, that I just mentioned, will most likely be the Democrat nominee for president," said Perry, who is widely expected to seek the 2016 GOP nomination for president. "She’s the one that literally brought the reset button to the Kremlin to re-establish those new relationships with Russia."
"Well, they did reset us, that's for sure," he said. "They reset us back to pre-1989, from my perspective."
Perry delivered the remarks at a New Hampshire GOP event in Nashua. About 16 other presidential candidates and contenders are scheduled to appear at the gathering over the weekend in the early primary state.
"We're not gonna fix Washington by electing a president who is from Washington, of Washington or, for that matter, for Washington," he said, alluding to Clinton. "Change is only going to come from the outside, from my perspective, and so should the next president."
That statement was a slight shift in tone for Perry. In the Friday afternoon speech and elsewhere on the stump, Perry has shown little inclination for red-meat shots, and has instead aimed to take apart Obama and Clinton over policy.
It's a different approach than the one taken by his in-state presidential contender rival, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. While both men are critical of Clinton, Cruz has targeted Clinton more directly and has used biting humor about her in his stump speeches.
Clinton, who officially entered the presidential race on Sunday, is the front-runner for her party's nomination.
Cruz is scheduled to speak to the same audience on Saturday.